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Oct  2017

Sustainable Stormwater Management to Address Pollution and Climate Change

An issue that has been receiving increasing attention lately is stormwater pollution. In urban areas, stormwater picks up pollution mainly from impervious surfaces and conveys it through pipes either directly to recipients or to a wastewater treatment plant. An alternative to this approach is ecological stormwater management, where polluted stormwater is treated and volumes are reduced through a variety of techniques that include infiltration, retention/detention, biofilters, and structural controls. These techniques are utilized by best management practices(BMPs) such as ponds, wetlands, bioswales, rain gardens, and green roofs. In addition to providing water quality and volume reduction benefits, the BMPs also contribute with greenery, biodiversity, noise reduction, and insulation.Regardless of the variousbenefits of ecological stormwater management, however, it is not utilized to a great extent.

Our latest finding presents potential reasons for the lack of use of ecological stormwater management, in addition to suggestions for how to move beyond these obstacles. Research points to a lack of knowledge, insufficient legislation, and insufficient influence of water professionals in the planning process to be the main obstacles to a wider implementation in Gothenburg. Suggestions to encourage its use mainly include increased knowledge, use of role models, improved legislation, improved benchmark values, and an integrated approach in which the hydrology of a site is the basis for planning, as well as various instruments such as green area factor, green roof policies, sustainable buildings standards, and economic evaluation systems for ecosystem services.

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